Tips For Creating A Cleaning Schedule
Spring Cleaning at About.com
Housecleaning Tips From Heloise at GoodHousekeeping.com
Detailed Cleaning Lists by FlyLady.net
Using those as guidelines make lists of your own according to your home's layout and cleaning priorities. As you're doing this, also determine the frequency of the chores: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. OrganizedHome.com has some great blank forms for this.
Once you have your lists looking the way you like them, simply divide them evenly across a year. In other words, if a chore is once a year, pick a logical month and list that chore in that month. For example, planning for your garden might go in the month of February. If a chore is once a month, pick a day each month (for example, the first Tuesday) and write it down for that day. Again, these lists should be just penciled lists on paper to begin with. Not until you have a good working system should you convert to a more permanent and sturdy system. If you're stuck on this part, DonnaYoung.org has a good example of all her chores through the year on one form.
I put mine on two sets of index cards held together with binder rings. One set is for my rotation of daily/weekly chores and the other is for my rotation of monthly/yearly chores. These hang just above my desk so they are easily accesible and also visible reminders of what I need to do each day.
Using those, you can prepare your chore charts the same as those for the kids. The funny thing is, seeing the chores disappear from your chart might have the same effect for you as it does for the kids. For me, it is such a sense of accomplishment! When you have developed good habits of keeping your home clean, it's not always easy to "see" those results but a chore chart that is "empty" for the day makes it more "visible".
Weekly Cleaning Lists
LAUNDRY - This is a chore that should take priority because it will build up quickly - For us, we do one load of clothing per weekday and one load of linens on weekends - This means, gathering, washing, drying, folding and putting away
BEDROOMS - I list the master bedroom and kids' bedrooms separate because, for the most part, the kids manage their own rooms while I take care of the master bedroom
LIVING ROOM - This may be the family room in your house - Generally, I am just referring to the main living area of your home - Wherever it is that your family spends the most time - You will notice that in my routines I do not have an entry for general cleaning of this area - That's because it is part of my kids' chores to "tidy up" this area each night before going to bed
HALLWAY/STAIRWAY - This refers to the main hallway and/or stairway in your home - If you have an open floorplan, you can just skip this chore :-)
DINING ROOM - If you don't have a separate dining room (ours is part of our living room), then this just refers to the area where you have your dining table and chairs - Wherever it is that your family gathers to eat
ENTRYWAY/FOYER - You know this area - Just by the front door, where shoes and coats and bookbags seem to gather as they get dropped when people come home - It might be a small area or a large open foyer - Whichever it is, just include it in your routines
KITCHEN - In my routines, you might see some things "missing" but I promise you they aren't - Things like emptying/loading the dishwasher, cleaning thes stovetop, etc. are included with my kids' chores - Since I do all the cooking, I feel they should help with the clean up! As for my "clean and declutter one counter/drawer" entries, I have included those because it seems for many families, the kitchen is the area that gets cluttered the fastest - If you make it a part of your regular routine to declutter just one part of your kitchen, it will stay neat and organized!
BATHROOMS - Again, daily cleaning is not listed in my weekly routines because it is a part of my kids' chores
DUSTING - When "dust" is listed in the routines, this means all surfaces including around door frames and picture frames, window sills, table tops, lamps, and even ceiling fan blades (if you have them)
FLOORS - There are various entries for dealing with floors in the home - Generally, these just mean that you should sweep or vacuum (according to the type of flooring in that area) - I don't have this listed as often as I usually do this chore but I keep it on my lists to ensure I keep up with it at least that much
The MUST-DO Chores
We all have those times of year when we are insanely busy, right? And keeping up with a normal routine of any type, much less a cleaning routine, is difficult at best. For times like those, it's best to have a list of "must-do" chores that are the bare minimum that get done regularly. Here is my list:
- Kitchen - Since I do nearly all the cooking, I leave it up to my kids to load the dishes in our dishwasher, clean the sink, counters and stovetop after each meal. I clean out my fridge once per week.
- Bathrooms - These should be kept clean for health reasons. If you aren't opposed to chemical cleaners you can do what I do and keep a canister of disinfectant wipes in each bathroom. Nearly everyday the counters, sink, and toilet (outside) are wiped down with those wipes. The inside of the toilet is scrubbed at least once a week and trash is emptied once per week as well. We have those automatic shower cleaners and they are used after every bath/shower and they work beautifully.
- Living Area(s) - This is where your family spends most of their time each day. Our living room and dining room is one big open area where we also have our desks and do our schoolwork. We are all responsible for putting away anything we get out in these areas. Since we have laminate wood flooring, I sweep as needed which is usually about every other day but I vacuumed as often when we had carpet. I mop about once per week. Then each night one of the kids (on a rotation) straightens up just before bed.
- Laundry - This is one of those chores that can pile up, literally, very quickly but if you keep up with it, it makes a big difference in the overall "clean feel" of your home. Thankfully, my girls are all able to manage their laundry on their own now. Can I just say again how thankful I am for that? It really is an easy chore for kids to handle. That leaves me to only worry about the rest of the house: my clothes, my son's, and linens. I have found that if I commit to doing at least one load of clothing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I stay on top of this chore. On Saturdays, I do one load of linens.
These chores, if done regularly take very little time each day and will keep your home looking and feeling clean. Stress about the bigger stuff once the holiday rush is over!
This list is also a great way to just get started with a cleaning routine if you haven't ever had one. Start now with just these basics and you'll find yourself adding to it with ease later!
Kids' Chore System
This may seem complicated but, stay with me! I promise it will make perfect sense and seem very simple once I'm done!
Starting out, we used several different chore lists and methods of keeping up with them until we found the one that works for our family. At first, we kept everything just on handwritten lists and such but now that we have a good, working system I made sure it's more durable.
This is just to the left of my desk. As you can see, the centerpiece is a large lamenated calendar where we write appointments, field trips, special days, etc. Also there are envelopes for each of the following: each child's completed chores, the months, all the chores, and dry erase markers. Beneath the large calendar are the individual chore lists. These are lamenated weekly calendars with small velcro pieces on each square. All the chores are on small lamenated pieces with velcro on the back. The chore charts and the chore pieces I obtained from here.
We have a "master" chore schedule that is lamenated and hanging on the wall next to the calendars.
Looking at the master list, I can determine what chores each child is responsible for through the week. The individual chores are easily stuck to the appropriate child's calendar on the appropriate day because of the velcro. Completed chores are pulled off and placed in that child's envelope. Seeing the chores disappear from their calendars and their envelopes filling gives the kids a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the week, the kids receive 10 cents for each completed chore. That may sound like a small amount but it adds up quickly especially when the kids complete extra chores. Those chores are indicated with check marks on their calendars.
The final piece of the system is how to keep up with allowance. If you are like me, you rarely carry cash especially small coins. This meant I would end up paying my kids their allowances only about once a month but it was hard to keep up with how much I owed to each. I found some pretend checkbook registers at the local dollar store and now use those to keep up with it. Each week I write in how much they've earned as a "deposit". When it comes time to pay them, I write it in as a "payment". This has an added benefit of teaching the kids the value of saving money and how it can add up when they work hard.
See, I told you it was simple and effective! I also have a chart for my own chore rotation. You can read about that on my Household Chore Helps & Schedules page. You won't believe how easy it is to keep your house clean with just a few minutes of work each day!